LeBron James doesn’t always know what the next big project for the LeBron James Family Foundation will be. He just knows “we’re in the lab every day trying to figure out what’s next.”
James and his foundation have determined their next major project: They are teaming up with Akron Public Schools to create a new public school called the I Promise School.
The school will educate students like those who are part of James’ foundation: “Students who are at-risk in reading and who are in need of additional academic intervention before falling further behind their peers,” according to the news release.
“This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most – those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something,” James said in a statement. “We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts. If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.”
The school is scheduled to open the fall of 2018 and will start with third and fourth grades and expanding to first and second in the fall of 2019. By 2022, the school will open to students in grades one through eight.
Akron leaders, educators, parents and experts will determine several logistics of the new school, and I Promise students will be chosen by a random lottery system.
“We are excited about the potential of the I Promise School to provide specialized programming and invaluable resources for our students,” Akron Public Schools superintendent David James said in the news release. “We’ve seen the positive influence of the LeBron James Family Foundation on our students and we look forward to continuing to do everything we can to put our students in a position to be successful.”
This innovative project is an evolution of James’ growing foundation, which started out as summer bike-a-thon to get kids more involved in school and has grown to the point where kids who are enrolled in the foundation can receive full scholarships to the University of Akron if they meet testing, education, attendance and community-service criteria.
In the fall, James announced plans for the I Promise Institute, a resource lab for students and their parents with the goal of ensuring foundation students graduate.